The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has fined three Malawian companies for duping customers during the delivery of their services and products.
According to a statement issued by the commission, the cases of the companies were brought before the Commission in accordance with section 8 of the Competition and Trading Act.
Two of the companies, Farmers World Limited and Sweet Smelling Limited, have been fined MK5 Million each while Motor Care Limited has been fined MK2.5 Million.
Farmers World Ltd was found in the wrong for supplying 20kg of Sea Fresh packs whose expiry dates were labelled on separate tags clipped or stapled onto the packs.
“In its findings, the commission determined that expiry date labelling on removable stickers or clips makes the labels prone to abuse by unscrupulous traders who may upon expiry of products, simply remove the expiry dates and replace with new ones in order to deceive unsuspecting consumers. This conduct was inconsistent with the applicable consumer protection standards as provided under the Malawi Standards MS 19, Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA),” says the statement
The commission has disclosed that it was not the first time for Farmers World Limited to do the malpractice.
According to the statement, the commission has also ordered Sweet Smelling Food Trading Ltd to pay a fine of MK5 million for failing to timely recall a harmful product from the market established during investigations in September last year.
“Sweet Smelling Food Trading Ltd were supplying Joy Crisps which were not fit for human consumption. However, despite being advised to conduct a voluntary recall process and issue a public notice, the company did not comply fully,” reads the statement.
According to the commission, if the company fails to pay the fine its bosses will face criminal prosecution in accordance with Section 50 and 51 of the CFTA.
The third company which is Motor Care Limited has been fined K2.5 million for placing a misleading advert on the price of motor vehicle tyres and batteries.
“This followed investigations which the commission conducted after receiving three consumer complaints against the adverts that the company published in the local newspapers.
“After thorough investigations, the commission established that the prices charged by Motor Care Ltd at the counter were different and far higher than the discounted prices published in the newspaper adverts.
“By publishing prices which markedly differed from those prevailing at the counter and purposely omitting some information which would have helped consumers to make an informed purchase decision, the Commission determined that Motor Care Ltd engaged in prohibited deceptive and misleading advertising,” says the statement.
The commission came up with the decisions during its 48th meeting in Lilongwe on 5th May when it considered and adjudicated over cases relating to unfair trading practices, anti-competitive business conducts and mergers and acquisitions.